We all, in one way or another, are users of some operating system, but what’s behind them? Creating and designing any software or app involves taking into account two essential aspects that determine the success or failure of a product: software architecture and usability.
Software architecture refers to highly differentiated technical aspects. They go from programming to design and are mainly the job of the programmer. This architecture defines how software will be structured, how it is going to work and how the information is going to be shown. That’s the ‘invisible’ part of the product and that’s how it’s supposed to be, as it will mean that the software has been properly developed. Good software architecture has a considerable impact on the usability of the product.
Usability embraces both the creation of the software and its aesthetic properties. It’s a key factor for a product to be attractive and interesting to users. Usability must be present throughout all the development process and it must be focused on the final users. The use they will make of it will determine the success or failure of the product. A software programme or application can be really good architectonically speaking, but if it’s not user-friendly (i.e. if it’s not usable) it will be a failure as it won’t reach its ultimate goal. It has been proven that the more usability these apps and software provide, the greater chance for success their developers will have.
We only need to take a look at the most successful apps and software in the market. Regardless their individual characteristics, there is something common to all of them: they are easily used. Be it for the information structure or be it for its design and content accessibility, the fact is that they don’t force the user to think much. Throughout the whole experience, the questions users may ask themselves have already been anticipated by the programmers and the answers are easily found. Usability and architecture go hand in hand and must work together perfectly so they can reach the ultimate goal: the users’ satisfaction.
Translation by Pablo Velázquez.
Image: Mario Klingemann